Low drive malinois puppy? - Page 1

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by Dorka94 on 14 July 2019 - 06:07

Hy guys!

2 weeks ago i brought home a malinois puppy from a reputable breeder, his pedigree shows 6 generations of KNPV, IGP and Mondioring dogs. Now he is 10weeks old and despite at the breeders he showed a fairly good prey drive (pulling on the rug, running after it like crazy) he is a cute lovely puppy but only interested in food. My other 2 dogs are more interesting to him than playing with me. The drop in his drive is starting to concern me. I crate him, take him out to bathroom breaks, handfeed him. My plans for him is to become a lowkey IGP prticipant. He is fine in new places, tail up, shows confidence, explores a lot but only chases prey when other dogs are around and shows no interest in playing with me. He is quite protective of his toys (once he finds them interesting enough) and his food, its not a problem for me because at least he shows signs of being willing to bite, but he is a really chill, not that much energy type of dog. Any recommendations of how to jumpstart him or should i just accept that he is better a pet than a working dog?

Thank you and sorry for the long post

Western Rider (admin)

by Western Rider on 14 July 2019 - 09:07

First thing I would do is not allow him time with the other dogs until fully trained.

His attention should then go back to you and your games with him.


by Hundmutter on 14 July 2019 - 10:07

Absolutely; I don't necessarily know about "fully trained" [WR's post] - but you need to make him more interested in YOU and you'll never do that if your other dogs are competition. (Don't worry, once you establish your bond, he'll be happy to play with the others again but you will always be his main focus of attention).

by Dorka94 on 14 July 2019 - 14:07

Thank you for your answers. I guess i was not clear enough on the drive issue. He doesnt play with me even when he is separated from the others. He only plays tug or ball when the other dogs are around and one of them grabs the tug. When hes in the mood, he chases prey on the flirt pole, when hes not, no matter what i do, he doesnt care. Same with the ball. When i play with my other dogs he chases them, even steals the ball sometimes, but by himself all he cares about is food. Our relationship is fine i guess, i spend quality time with him, just the two of us, take him to adventures, he follows me everywhere, comes to me when he has difficulty solving a problem, i can take him to walk without a leash, looks for eye contact most of the time. He is a fine puppy, only seems like he is really low drive low energy pup...

by duke1965 on 14 July 2019 - 15:07

sometimes we have to accept that, when its not there, its not there, even with the best dogs on the pedigree, from every famous dog/pedigree, there will be more offspring not functioning like their dad, then there will be that work like Dad

you will typically see that they will want to play tug o war with each other, packbehaviour, but when separated, on their own, on new location, is a different situation

by Dorka94 on 14 July 2019 - 15:07

I am giving him time because without a crazy prey drive he can still turn out to be a nice sportdog. He he is a really open puppy, not scaredy, confident, quite defensive toward his toys and food. We will see what comes out of him


by Hundmutter on 14 July 2019 - 18:07

I think you should give him more time, yes - because at 10 weeks he is still very young, will tire quickly as does any pup that age, and because without being there and seeing you with your pup it is always hard to give training advice.
All pups are different, and levels that worked before with other dogs you've owned may not be right for this little one.

You say that you feel you are making yourself as interesting to him as you can; maybe you need to think about that and 'up' your excitability level more, even to the point of seeming 'silly','cos I've seen a lot of people reluctant to do that and yet, when they can get over that hurdle, it gets them results ! It may also be about timing; maybe he has already learnt that the treats are coming out quickly, so he does not have to do anything else - take a little longer before you let him see the food.

Failing all that, you may have to take Duke's approach; but I really feel with one so young that would be unnecessarily defeatist at this point.

by Dorka94 on 15 July 2019 - 14:07

Thank you Hundmutter. Yeah i am giving him time. He is crazy for food and uninterested in toys. In the past 2 days i started to leave tennis balls around the yard before i take him out and separting him from my other dogs, left him in the outside kennel for an hour. He started to play a little (still not crazy on chasing things), he usually waits till the ball or rug stops and hunts it down like a cat. He carries things in his mouth (mostly tree branches which he likes to chew). When we are in contact, he likes to chew my hand instead of toys. Even when playing tug and i let him win ( i always move the rug or ball, let him catch it, pull on it for a little then let him have it). When he wins, he becomes uninterested, when i try to pick it up, he goes for my hand. He has a strong and steady grip, so much so my arm is getting pretty chewed up.

Other than him being almost completely uninterested in playing with objects, he is a really loveable little guy, i do not complain. He is just not as high in drive so far, as my other mal was at this age.

Q Man

by Q Man on 15 July 2019 - 14:07

It's natural but unfair to compare one dog to another...

One thing I would suggest is to have one of your other dogs out with your baby and play with a toy...DO NOT let go of the toy...You control it...Maybe your puppy will chase and go after the other dog it doesn't matter...They pick up from it and learn from other dogs...
And I wouldn't let this play with and around another dog go too long...then I would take him out by himself with you later on...Begin a play session for a few minutes...Continue to do this...DO NOT give up...Sometimes drives will kick in...But you can always make it better...
Everytime you take him out to go to the bathroom I would begin a short play session...and ALWAYS leave him wanting more (if he engages)…

I always have ONE thing in my mind when I'm trying to train any dog...and that is to just make them Better then they were and to make them the best they can be...Whatever that might be...



by Hundmutter on 15 July 2019 - 15:07

I have sometimes had the reverse problem with some dogs, they did not want to know about food as a reward (or as a bribe!) and if I couldn't train what I wanted with a favourite toy instead, I couldn't train it. I have always got them into food treats eventually. And then weaned them off food again later. So it can be done; no reason why a 'foodie' puppy cannot eventually be switched to toys / balls / dumbells / bitebars / sleeves, whatever.

You have a head start; you tell us he will carry branches n stuff around. I've found over the years that most dogs show little interest in balls just left lying around for them, the fun is in playing with the ball with the owner (esp. the game of stealing it and running off with it, to try to train the owner to chase them !) Distraction by substituting a chew toy for your flesh whenever he tries to practice his teeth on you is hardly a startlingly original idea. I repeat, this is a very young puppy; you've had him a fortnight; yet you are already prepared to write him off as 'not drivey enough' ? For heavens sake, give him time to develop at his own pace, not your previous dogs pace; you may yet get a very nice surprise ... See what Bob / Q man says for next steps.


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